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  • ca. 6000 B.C. Indian groups settle Jamaica.
  • ca. A.D. 600 Arawak Indians come to the island.
  • 1494 Columbus visits Jamaica.
  • 1503-1504 Columbus is stranded on the North Coast.
  • 1509 Spain establishes a colony at St. Ann's Bay and another on the site of present-day Spanish Town.
  • 1513 First enslaved Africans arrive.
  • 1520 Sugar cane cultivation introduced.
  • 1655 British troops overrun Jamaica.
  • 1658 British repel Spanish invaders.
  • 1661 Major British colonization begins.
  • 1670 Hundreds of privateers given royal protection in Jamaica.
  • 1692 Earthquake destroys Port Royal.
  • 1739 Rebellious Maroons sign treaty with British.
  • 1800 Census reveals huge majority of blacks in Jamaica.
  • 1808 Slave trade abolished by Great Britain.
  • 1838 Slavery ended.
  • 1866 Jamaica becomes a British Crown Colony.
  • 1930 Jamaicans push for autonomy.
  • 1943 Bauxite mining begins.
  • 1944 Universal adult suffrage instituted.
  • 1960s Tourist industry grows.
  • 1962 Jamaica achieves independence on August 6.
  • 1970s Bob Marley and reggae gain world fame.
  • 1972 Michael Manley, a socialist, becomes prime minister.
  • 1980 Edward Seaga, a moderate, succeeds Manley.
  • 1980s High unemployment spreads, though tourism thrives.
  • 1988 Hurricane Gilbert devastates Jamaica.
  • 1989 Manley, now moderate, returns to power.
  • 1992 P. J. Patterson becomes prime minister.
  • 1997 Patriarch Michael Manley dies; elections retain Patterson and People's National Party.
  • 2001 Violence erupts in Kingston; 40 are killed.
  • 2002 Queen Elizabeth's visit rekindles emotions about the British role in modern Jamaica.
  • 2006 "Disaster Ship," the Star Princess, arrives at Montego Bay.
  • 2007 Orette Bruce Golding, Labour Party leader, becomes prime minister.
  • 2010 Global falloff in the economy batters Jamaica.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.